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Jaguar D-Type XKD 606

In 1957 Jaguar drove to victory with this D-TYpe XKD 606 at Le Mans.

Jaguar dominated Le Mans in the 1950s, winning in 1951, 1953, 1955 and 1956, first with the C-types (the first car with disc brakes to win Le Mans) and then with the D-types. Jaguar withdrew from racing at the end of 1956 as the factory wanted to concentrate on its production cars.

Yet five D-types appeared for the 1957 race, all privately entered. The private team Ecurie Ecosse based in Scotland participated with two ‘dated’ factory Ds. This XKD 606 was crewed by Flockhart and Bueb, and the second car was driven by Lawrence and Sanderson.

Flockhart/Bueb took the lead after three hours and held onto it. The predominantly experimental Ferraris and Maseratis with drivers such as Moss and Fangio dropped out one by one, and Flockhart and Bueb’s Jaguar drove to victory with a nine-lap lead on the number two car, the Lawrence/Sanderson D-type. The other D-types took third, fourth and sixth places. The XKD 606 had achieved a hattrick for Jaguar in 1957, with three consecutive Le Mans wins. The car covered a record 4,397 kilometres at an average speed of 183 km/h, a record which remained unbroken for four years.

After Le Mans, the discarded D-type ended up in the club racing scene. Finally, following a crash, the car was split in two: the body and rear-wheel suspension, and the front sub-frame and engine. Both halves were then completed with replica parts, forming two separate, ‘original’ cars.

The Louwman Museum managed to acquire both cars, and following a lengthy and historically accurate restoration project the original components were reunited, returning the car to the condition it was in when it was so successful in 1957.

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